Monday, October 25, 2010

Rocktober Album #17: Slash - Slash (2010)

Slash is one of the most recognizable faces (or, I guess, heads of hair and top hats) in rock and roll, and he's also one of the best hard rock guitarists of the last 25 years. As a result, it should come as no surprise that when Slash wants to put out a solo album, he can gather some pretty fantastic singers and musicians to take on vocal duties and non-lead-guitar instrumental roles.

His eponymous album, which was released this past April in the US, is a solid collection of hard rock songs, with a nice (and sometimes surprising) array of guest vocalists and musicians, from Ozzy to Fergie to Chris Cornell to Adam Levine to Lemmy to Iggy Pop. Even more intriguing, in my mind, is that every Appetite-era GNR member except Axl appears on the album. Aside from "Watch This," which is written only by Slash, every song is co-written by Slash and the artist featured on the song (and sometimes an additional writer).

I just bought the regular version of the album. There are at least eleven deluxe or bonus editions, featuring more songs, demos, and even some covers of classic GNR songs.

1. Ghost (feat. Ian Astbury)
This is a really good, straightforward hard rock song. The guitar intro is catchy. Lead signer of The Cult and Jim Morrison doppelganger Ian Astbury lends his talents and does a predictably great job. Izzy Stradlin plays rhythm guitar on this song. There is no indication as to whether Mr. Brownstone made an appearance.

2. Crucify the Dead (feat. Ozzy Osbourne)
There's just something about Ozzy's voice that makes any song dark and awesome. This song has a symphonic quality to it, while still rocking. Providing backing vocals are Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and music producer Kevin Churko. Unfortunately, didn't have this one.

3. Beautiful Dangerous (feat. Fergie)
Whether or not you like the Black Eyes Peas or her lovely lady lumps, you have to respect Fergie's pipes. Hell, she sang "Gimme Shelter" along with the Rolling Stones at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert. Just as she wailed there, she wails on "Beautiful Dangerous." This is a great hard rock song that sounds like it could be on just about any Black Crowes album.

4. "Back From Cali" (feat. Myles Kennedy)
If you haven't heard of Kennedy, his is the former lead singer of hard rock outfit Alter Bridge, and he appears a couple times on this album. He also tours as Slash's vocalist. This song is kind of blues rock song. Kennedy has a good voice.

5. Promise (feat. Chris Cornell)
"Promise" starts out with a nice riff. Cornell (lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave if you are unfamiliar with rock and roll music), of course, has a great, powerful voice. I like the verses better than the choruses on this song.

6. By The Sword (feat. Andrew Stockdale)
If you don't know Andrew Stockdale by name, you will immediately recognize his voice as the lead singer of Wolfmother (see the trailer for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles 2 -- er, I mean, Due Date -- which features the Wolfmother song "New Moon Rising"). I love Stockdale's voice. It harkens back to early heavy metal. Slash plays a great, soaring guitar solo.

7. Gotten (feat Adam Levine)
Levine, lead singer for Maroon 5, sings on this softer, acoustic song. He has a really good voice, and I like him better when he opens it up and wails because he can sound like Stevie Wonder. Here, it's a little soft for my tastes.

8. Doctor Alibi (feat. Lemmy Kilmister)
Slash + Lemmy = awesome. As you might expect, this song is fast-paced and in your face, with snarling vocals, driving drums, and wicked guitar. It's amazing to me that Lemmy still sounds the same as he did 30 years ago. Given the way he sings, you would think his vocals chords would be completely shredded by this point. They are not. Sadly, this song is not on

9. Watch This (feat. Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan)
This one is an instrumental, with Grohl on drums and McKagan on bass. It's dark and heavy. Slash goes off on this one.

10. I Hold On (feat. Kid Rock)
"I Hold On" is a straightforward, soulful rock song. You forget that Kid Rock can actually be a decent rock singer when he wants to be. As expected, Slash has a nice guitar solo.

11. Nothing to Say (feat. M. Shadows)
M. Shadows is the lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold, so it should come as no surprise that "Nothing to Say" is one of the heavier songs on that album. Slash lays down an awesome, gritty riff, and Shadows delivers raw, loud vocals. This is just a really good hard rock/heavy metal song.

12. Starlight (feat. Myles Kennedy)
"Starlight" is the second song on the album to feature Kennedy on lead vocals, and this one is bluesy as well. Kennedy does his best Chris Cornell impression on this song and belts it out. The chorus kind of comes out of nowhere and absolutely soars. Drums on this song are provided by Steven Adler and former Average White Band and uber session drummer Steve Ferrone. Unfortunately, this one's not on

13. Saint is a Sinner Too (feat. Rocco DeLuca)
DeLuca is the lead singer and guitarist of Rocco DeLuca and The Burden, and he is well-known for playing a resonator guitar, which he plays on this song while Slash plays an acoustic. The song is kind of slower. DeLuca's voice is somewhat high, which give the song a slightly eerie feel. This one's not on either.

14. We're All Gonna Die (feat. Iggy Pop)
The album ends with a solid rocker. Iggy Pop is, well, Iggy Pop. His vocals are predictably dark and brooding. The chorus has a pretty good message, I think: "We're all gonna die / So let's get high / We're all gonna die / So let's be nice." He also tells you to "pee on the ground and jump around." Done and done. Unfortunately, this one's not on either.

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